Old Doxoblogy

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Shifting Sand

When I was a youth living in Florida with my parents, we would go sometimes to the beach. While at the beach I would wade out into the surf, looking at ships that sailed in the horizon. After starting out to sea for a while, I would look down and try to see the creatures that would swim around my feet. After a while I would hear my parents calling for me to come back. But I hadn't moved! But as I turned around I found that I had moved. I just didn't realize it. The undercurrent had shifted the sand under my feet and I had drifted yards away from where I started, even though I had not taken one step in that direction.
We as Christians also find ourselves drifting from God many times. We don't recognize that we are drifting, and yet we are. The nature of fallen humanity is to drift. This tendency to drift carries over into our church life.
Churches are constantly in need of reforming. Here are four areas many churches need to reform. If your church does not fall into any of these categories, Praise God! Nevertheless, rest assured that there is room for reform somewhere in your church. I know this because I know Scripture doesn't leave anyone room to hide from imperfection. But we should not be discouraged either. But rather, we should trust in God to align our hearts with Himself as we obey Scripture.

The New Idolatry

God in our time has been replaced. Not with images chiseled out of stone, or shaped from metal, or even carved from wood. God has been replaced with a god of our imagination.
Where God was once the sovereign who reigns on high, hating sin, loving righteousness, a God of wrath and mercy, revelatory and transcendent, He has become to many, pie in the sky, our buddy-buddy, old man upstairs, lovey-dubby kind of God. A God who refuses to punish sin, and a God who will not suffer anyone the torments of hell. But this is not God.

Misdirected Worship

Worship has become the worship of ourselves. Instead of coming together to worship the God of Scripture, we come together to worship ourselves, the preacher, the singing, God's blessings, baptisms, offerings, or anything else that will fill the time.
The center of worship is always to be God. When we give, we worship God. When we sing, we worship God. When we hear the preaching of God's Word, we worship God. When we receive good from God's hand, we worship God. When baptism or the Lord's Supper is administered, we worship God. When we fellowship with other believers, we worship God.

The Lost Scriptures

Scripture has been lost. The Bible as a guide for living for and worshipping the God of heaven has been substituted for itself. The clear preaching of Scripture through careful exposition, study, and prayer has been substituted for the preaching of a few key verses, taken out of context, and misused to appeal to the flesh.
We can learn how to be successful, gardening tips, how to get from God, and a host of other topics, but who will explain Scripture in its context? Who will feed us the Word's that come from the mouth of God? Scripture has been hijacked. Somebody bring it back to us.

The Lost Ordinances

Baptism and the Lord's Supper have also been swallowed up in themselves.
Baptism has become meaningless, with the repeat after me, sign this card, assure me of salvation, get in and out of the water, and continue on in your sin salvation that is practiced across our nation.
The Lord's Supper has become meaningless as well, whenever and if it is observed. It is given to anyone who walks through the door. We have not fenced the table. We have allowed unrepented sin to flourish in our congregations, thus producing spots and blemishes in our observance of the Lord's table.

God is not pleased. We must repent and reform our churches.
I'll tell you where we need to go from here in the next post.

10 comments:

Bhedr said...

Amen!

Amen on what we do with Scripture as well. I rememberm seeing Jane Fonda on Larry King saying, "Jesus was a feminist" and proceeded to talk about where in scripture she dug that out of.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Jane Fonda is quite the interpreter of Scripture.
Forget the men and women who have studied the Word their whole lives! What does Hollywood think about it?

Rose~ said...

I want to comment, but I think my comments to you way outnumber those you give to me, so I am not going to comment for now. bye :~)

J. Wendell said...

Never mind her, always so sensitive! Jeremy, we are both glad to link to you. I like your thinking brother. You preach to me. BTW anoother form of worship is both the preaching of the Word and the hearing and doing of the Word. That's one reason I will say "Amen!" while listening to my pastor's preaching.

Great post,
brother John

pilgrim said...

Good stuff there. Let me encourage you to keep it up.
While not every point will apply to every Church and every Christian, it would do us all well to examine ourselves as Paul says.
This should be done both for the benefit it is to our souls and to combat pride.

bluecollar said...

Sir,
I perceive that thou art a prophet!

Thank you and please keep it up!

Joe said...

Looking forward to the next post on the subject.

As a worship leader, I try very hard to help our congregation realize that our focus MUST be on Jesus. My favorite expression is, "It's not about you, it's not about me, it's all about Him."

Rose~ said...

Good, Jeremy. Every church could use a little refreshing. Sorry for the snot-nosed comment before.

Anonymous said...

Rose,
I think if you going to comment, at least let it be something regarding the post. Don't you think?! Look at Joe's favorite expression: "It's not about you, it's not about me, it's all about HIM"

Rose said...

I know my earlier comment was selfish and that is why I apologized. When I said, "every church could use refreshing", I was referring to the post. Sorry again, Jeremy, and whoever you are.